The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
1. How the Sixers Are Betting Big on International Talent – Jonathan Tjarks, The Ringer
Perhaps you’ve never heard of Furkan Korkmaz. Most casual fans probably haven’t heard of the Turk who was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, but to a large degree, that’s what they’re banking on. Part of their strategy is to go after European players who are undervalued by the NBA. Korkmaz is a big, athletic dude who can shoot and pass. Tjarks shows what Korkmaz can do, and shows how several Euros have out-performed their draft picks. The Sixers might be on to something.
2. Rudy Gobert is ready to silence the doubters – Adam Coffman, The J-Notes
No one is arguing that Rudy Gobert isn’t one of the best defenders in the league, but he’s still an emerging talent on the offensive end. Last year, he averaged 14.0 points on 66.1 percent shooting. However, that’s getting pretty free and loose with the word “shooting,” as virtually everything Gobert had was at the rim. He seems to have peaked as a “garbage scorer.” So to extend his scoring, he’ll have to extend both his range and his skill set. Coffman evaluates what Gobert can do to become a more prolific scorer.
3. What will Jeff Hornacek’s offense look like in the post-Phil Jackson Era? – New York Basketball Observer, Posting and Toasting
Now that the Knicks won’t be running a poor imitation of the Triangle Offense anymore, what kind of offense will they be running? New York Basketball Observer does a great job of taking a look at the things Hornacek did while he was coaching the Phoenix Suns and how those might fit in New York. He includes in that context the predilections and personalities of New York’s stars Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony. This is a unique and insightful look into questions I’m surprised more people aren’t asking.
4. How Kyrie Irving will evolve in Boston, Alex Kungu, Celtics Blog
The questions about Kyrie Irving aren’t really about what he is. Everyone knows that he’s an inconsistent defender and an unfocused playmaker. Everyone also knows he’s a great one-on-one scorer (or as Howard Beck said on a Lowe Post podcast, a great one-on-five scorer). No, there really aren’t any questions about who Kyrie is. The questions are about how what Kyrie will be. Kunu looks at the way Isaiah Thomas and Irving were used in different systems, and how running the offense in Boston could help Irving as a playmaker. He has some nice statistical analysis and video breakdowns to support his argument.
5. What happens when the NBA Draft helps the rich get richer? Miles Wray, The Step Back
The Cavaliers could be in the NBA Finals again this season and get the No. 1 pick in the draft. That’s not a bad situation for a team that is allegedly poised on the precipice of disaster. So here’s a random thought: What happens if LeBron James stays? What if Isaiah Thomas is fine and the Cavs keep him? And what if they win the lottery? There’s actually a chance the rich could get richer here. Wray takes a look at the previous times in NBA history when a 50-win team landed a top-5 pick in the lottery. The picks have ranged from the good to the bad to the tragic.
Thanks as always to Basketball Intelligence, which has been an invaluable resource to me in putting together this article. Follow and subscribe and you’ll be glad you did.